Home Dehradun Campaigning ends today in U’khand

Campaigning ends today in U’khand


Dehradun, 8 April (IANS): After big rallies of top national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the campaigning for the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand in the first phase of the 2019 general elections comes to an end on Tuesday evening.
The campaigning on the penultimate day on Monday was affected when rains lashed many parts of the state. However, Met Director Vikaram Singh expressed hope that the weather will be clear from Tuesday onward till April 11, when the election will be held.
Just as in previous elections, the BJP is again virtually locked in a straight fight with Congress in all the five seats – Tehri, Pauri, Haridwar, Almora and Nainital – where candidates are crisscrossing the length and breadth of the hill state to garner support in their favour on the last few days of the campaign.
Though the BJP had won all the five seats in 2014, Congress candidates such as state party President Pritam Singh and party general secretary Harish Rawat are giving anxious moments to the rival BJP candidates on a couple of seats, independent observers said. The BJP may have an edge in the two seats of Garhwal – Pauri and Haridwar – mainly due to the entry of newcomers from the Congress side.
From Tehri, the BJP is again betting on Rajyalaxmi Shah, the daughter-in-law of the late Maharaja Manvendra Shah. This time, Shah is pitted against PCC cChief Pritam Singh, who is contesting the parliamentary election for the first time. Singh is a four-time MLA from Chakrata, which is part of the Tehri seat. But Shah, who belongs to the Nepalese royal family, gets support from over one lakh strong Gorkha population. She also commands great respect in the region for being a consort of the “Boland Badri” (speaking Lord Vishnu).
On the other hand, Singh too has a strong Jaunsari vote bank and the contest against Shah looks interesting.
In Pauri, the Congress party’s Manish Khanduri, a new comer in the election, is facing an uphill task against the much experienced BJP national secretary Tirath Singh Rawat. Khanduri junior is mainly banking on the name and the fame of his father, who is considered to be a big leader in Pauri. Khanduri senior had won the seat five times but has kept himself away from the campaign this time. On the other hand, Rawat is also a protege of Khanduri senior.
In Haridwar, top BJP leader and former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, the sitting MP, also has an edge against Congress candidate Ambrish Kumar, a first timer. Some people in Haridwar are even saying that BSP may push Congress to third place at Haridwar.
Unlike Garhwal, the fight for, both, Nainital and Almora seats in Kumaon are going to be very close. The main reason is that the Congress candidates in these two seats – former Chief Minister Harish Rawat (Nainital) and Rajya sSabha member Pradip Tamta (Almora) are very experienced.
Rawat is pitted against state BJP President Ajay Bhatt at Nainital. Leader of the Opposition Indira Hridayesh has claimed that she has organised eight rallies in support of Rawat at Haldwani area of Nainital seat.
In Almora, Harish Rawat’s protege Tamta is locked in an intense tussle against Union Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta. In the battle of two Tamtas, it can be anybody’s game, observers said.
The BJP is also banking on the support of its 57 MLAs in the state to drum up support for the party’s candidates. Congress has only 11 MLAs in the state.